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UNUS SED LEO is a utility token that’s used across the iFinex ecosystem. The unusual name is based on a Latin citation from one of Aesop’s fables.
The cryptocurrency allows Bitfinex users to save money on trading fees. The extent of the discount depends on how much LEO that the customer has in their account — and the savings on offer are spread across three tiers. There are fluctuations depending on whether a trading pair is crypto-to-crypto, or crypto-to stablecoin.
UNUS SED LEO launched in May 2019 — and unlike many other cryptocurrencies out there, it is not designed to exist forever.
UNUS SED LEO was founded by iFinex after Crypto Capital, the company that processed its payments, saw part of its funds seized by the government. IFinex is the parent company of Bitfinex, which warned that it may not be possible to recover these funds. To cover the financial shortfall, it decided to launch the LEO token.
To make good the money lost, iFinex unveiled plans to gradually buy back the token from investors until none are left circulating in the marketplace. A transparency initiative was also launched so the crypto community could monitor the initiative’s progress, and ensure it was meeting stated targets.
A token burn mechanism means iFinex is committed to buying back UNUS SED LEO from the market on a monthly basis. The amount that’s purchased and burned is equal to at least 27% of the revenues generated by iFinex — and tokens are also purchased at the market rate. In a news release at the time, the company said: “The burn mechanism will continue until 100% of tokens have been redeemed.”
Whereas some cryptocurrencies just launch on a single blockchain, LEO tokens were issued on two blockchains. While 64% of the original supply was on Ethereum, the remaining 36% could be found on EOS.
As we mentioned, the circulating supply of LEO tokens is designed to diminish over time. Originally, the total supply was set at 1 billion.
LEO was sold for $1 apiece on a 1:1 basis with the Tether stablecoin, meaning that a total of $1 billion was raised over a 10-day period.
There were 660 million ERC-20 tokens at launch, as well as 340 million EOS-based tokens — and Bitfinex allows conversions between the two chains to be made with ease.
At the time, the company described the dual protocol launch as “unique” — and vowed that it would empower the Bitfinex community.
These tokens are based on Ethereum and EOS respectively. A dashboard has been released by Bitfinex that offers up-to-minute information on the current supply, and how many LEO tokens have been burned. Bar charts compare LEO burns on a daily basis.